It’s time we all came to a realization. The quarterback position has very little value in fantasy football. There isn’t much between different QBs this year. The young crop of QBs has elevated its game enough where Blake Bortles, David Carr, and Jameis Winston can be started weekly and you feel fine with it. You might even feel good about it. It’s all about matchups from week to week. You can’t trade a QB in a one-team league because they have no value. Good luck trading Philip Rivers or Carson Palmer to a smart owner. He’d rather keep his quality running back or wide receiver and ride with Carr or Andy Dalton under center. That’s the key fantasy football takeaway in 2015. You’re welcome.
Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. They’re especially important in daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues like DraftKings. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR. You can always ask about trades as well.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Kirk Cousins (QB – Washington)
There are a few owners out there who were crippled by the Andrew Luck injury and don’t have a quality backup on their bench because they would rather own upside backs and receivers. It was the smart thing to do because now you can pick up Cousins to stream at the QB position this week. Before you throw up in your mouth a little bit, let’s acknowledge that the Saints have just been absolutely awful against fantasy QBs lately. They’ve given up at least 300 yards and 3 touchdowns to quarterbacks over the last three weeks and there’s no reason to think that’s going to get any better. Cousins now has a healthy Desean Jackson with an extra week of practice under his belt plus his old reliables in Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon.
James Starks (RB – Green Bay)
Fat Eddie Lacy owners are fed up. The dude is clearly overweight and yet neither he nor the team will acknowledge the issue. It’s sad when you’d rather your first round pick not play at all so that you at least have some lineup clarity and don’t risk putting up a dud when starting him. To make matters worse, Lacy owners may’ve cut Starks after the second time Lacy returned from injury. We can only hope for some clarity with Mike McCarthy’s declaration that Starks is now the lead dog. Now should be a great week to be a Starks owner as the Packers host the Lions. Detroit has allowed at least 17 points to RBs in six of their eight games including the last four games. It helps that their pass defense is a sieve as well, thus allowing opponents to take the lead and run with it. Starks will have the chance to hit good yardage numbers and pay dirt this weekend even if he only gets 15 carries. That’s something worth starting in the land of RB uncertainty.
Joique Bell & Theo Riddick (WR – Detroit)
You’ll also find opportunity on the flip side of the game between Detroit and Green Bay. Green Bay’s defense has not performed as well in recent weeks, specifically against the run. Three of the Packers last four opponents have gotten at least 86 yards rushing from their running backs and that group includes Denver who’s had issues running the ball all year. The Lions have moved away from preseason darling Ameer Abdullah back to Bell as the lead back with Riddick continuing to play on passing downs. I don’t hate both as options this week. Bell should be in line for a 10-15 carries including few goal line carries as the Lions post some better offensive numbers after the bye. Riddick should see a lot of dump offs in the passing game as Stafford looks to avoid the Green Bay pass rush. It’s not solid gold, but it’s a nice bronze insertion into your lineup.
Desean Jackson & Pierre Garcon (WRs – Washington)
Kirk Cousins has to throw to someone, right? Receivers against New Orleans have scored 9 touchdowns in the last three games and have put up an average of 220 yards per game. This should be a field day for Jackson and Garcon as long as the Redskins don’t get too banged up partying on Bourbon Street. They can celebrate with all the beignets.
James Jones (WR – Green Bay)
You can’t be a dependable fantasy receiver when you average less than two catches per game over a 4 week period. That’s what Jones’ owners are finding out. He’s a match-up based play in high-scoring games because he’s so touchdown dependent. After facing tough defenses with very touch cornerbacks, Jones gets to return to form this week against the Lions. Green Bay is projected to put up 28.5 points this week by Vegas, so there’s plenty of room in there for Jones to grab more than two catches and a touchdown. You shouldn’t get crazy starting him over better players, but he’s a perfect bye week fill-in.
Eric Ebron (TE – Detroit)
At this point you probably think I only scouted two games for the column this week because all I’m doing is handing out plays from two sets of teams playing each other. These two games just present quality fantasy opportunities because of they represent two of the highest over/unders of the week. I could easily have also recommended Jordan Reed as your tight end, but I’m going a little deeper with Ebron. The Packers clearly can’t defend the TE because they gave up 11 points to Martellus Bennett, 10 to Travis Kelce, 9 to Antonio Gates, 9 to Ladarius Green (in the same game as Gates obviously), and 12 to Greg Olsen. They even gave up 105 yards to the pu pu platter of Broncos tight ends.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Carson Palmer (QB – Arizona)
I love what Palmer’s done so far this season. Who hasn’t? Now it’s time to get real as we fight for every last win. The QB position is so deep that you don’t need to force Palmer into your lineup this week. Is Seattle’s pass D actually good? Or are they just preventing QBs from scoring since they’ve played Jimmy Claussen, Matthew Stafford, Colin Kaepernick, and Matt Cassel in four of last six games since Kam Chancellor came back? Honestly I don’t know. Cam Newton did alright against them on the road. If you have the opportunity to start someone like David Carr, Blake Bortles, or Eli Manning over Palmer this week I feel like you have to do it. Better to play risk averse at this time of the season.
Jonathan Stewart (RB – Carolina)
I have a love/hate relationship with Stewart. You probably do too. You can’t argue with him getting 20 carries in four straight games. You can argue with the match-up against a surprisingly stout Tennessee run defense. The Titans held Mark Ingram down last week, limiting him to 62 yards on 24 carries. They even kept Ingram out of the end zone, forcing New Orleans to attack by air. Since Stewart isn’t a guarantee for red zone work to begin with, he can’t be trusted in this spot if your alternatives are in a better spot.
Charcandrick West (RB – Kansas City)
We had a couple good weeks as West owners. He put up 18 against Pittsburgh and 17 against Detriot. Now he’s about to take a dump at midfield. Denver has only allowed 100 yards rushing to one RB this year. Oddly enough that RB was Jamaal Charles. The other RBs have averaged 2.97 yards per carry. Expect a big effort from the Broncos this Sunday as they look to redeem themselves from getting beat up by the Colts. I’m looking east for running backs in Week 10.
Larry Fitzgerald (WR – Arizona)
Here’s a little cheese for your Cardinals offense whine. Fitzgerald looks to be matched up with Richard Sherman all day on Sunday. That’s not good. After a hot start, Fitzgerald has slowed down slightly with three games under 10 points in the last five. That’s not good either. If Carson Palmer is going to see any success, why would he look Sherman’s way when he has two other really good receivers to attacks the Seattle defense?
Eric Decker (WR – New York Jets)
I don’t really hate any receivers this week, but I’ll take a stance on Decker for a couple reasons. For starters he’s been nursing a knee injury all year. He’s been sitting out practices this year to help him get ready for Sunday games. Newsflash: this game is on Thursday. That doesn’t help his usual recovery scenario. Add in that the Bills have two pretty decent outside corners and Rex Ryan should know some key things about his ex-Jets players.
Ben Watson (TE – New Orleans)
The TE position has been a weird one this year. You probably were happy to find Watson midseason. I know I was. Unfortunately the Redskins will find him a lot this weekend since they’re damn good at covering guys like him. They shut down Gronk last week to the tune of 47 yards and no touchdowns. They haven’t given up 10 fantasy points to any TE this year and that’s because they’ve only allowed one touchdown to the position. Do better America. Do better.